The aggregation and mislocalization of RNA-binding proteins leads to the aberrant regulation of RNA metabolism and is a key feature of many neurodegenerative diseases, including amyotrophic lateral sclerosis and frontotemporal dementia. However, the pathological consequences of abnormal deposition of TDP-43 and other RNA-binding proteins remain unclear, as the specific molecular events that drive neurodegeneration have been difficult to identify and continue to be elusive. Here, we provide novel insight into the complexity of the RNA-binding protein network by demonstrating that the inclusion of exon 17b in the SORT1 mRNA, a pathologically relevant splicing event known to be regulated by TDP-43, is also considerably affected by additional RNA-binding proteins, such as hnRNP L, PTB/nPTB and hnRNP A1/A2. Most importantly, the expression of hnRNP A1/A2 and PTB/nPTB is significantly altered in patients with frontotemporal dementia with TDP-43-positive inclusions (FTLD-TDP), indicating that perturbations in RNA metabolism and processing in FTLD-TDP are not exclusively driven by a loss of TDP-43 function. These results also suggest that a comprehensive assessment of the RNA-binding protein network will dramatically advance our current understanding of the role of TDP-43 in disease pathogenesis, as well as enhance both diagnostic and therapeutic capabilities.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Molecular Biology